Qatar was the shock winner of the bid to host the 2022 World CupAlan Santos/PR, Flickr (LICENSED UNDER CC BY 2.0)

Sky Bet chose to advertise the start of the new English football season back in August as "A Season Like No Other". With a World Cup crammed in the middle of an already hectic footballing schedule, it has been non-stop since August. The Champions League group stages were completed over a month earlier this season than the last, whilst clubs like Manchester City have already played five more games this season than at the same point last year. Some may be enjoying this footballing feast, but it is causing a long list of injuries. Reece James, Diogo Jota and N’Golo Kante have all been ruled out of the World Cup. Raphael Varane came off in tears against Chelsea with a muscle problem that could cost him his France spot. Injuries are a part of football, but the congested fixture list and quick turnaround is meaning that more players than ever are facing missing out on their dream of playing at a World Cup.

It was never meant to be like this. A winter World Cup in Qatar. This wasn’t a decision based on the merits of Qatar’s bid, but on greed and corruption.

Sepp Blatter, FIFA President at the time, and Michel Platini, his Vice-President, were both banned from all footballing activities for eight years in 2015 on corruption charges. A further eight members who voted in the decision were indicted in May 2015 by the U.S. Department of Justice for corruption relating to the bid. Two members, Issa Hayatou and Jacques Anouma, were accused of receiving $1.5 million in exchange for their votes.

The supposed guardians of our game were willing to turn a blind eye to Qatar’s shocking human rights record in order to line their pockets. Since 2010, over 6,500 migrant workers are estimated to have died in Qatar, with further reports of confiscated passports and delays on paying wages. LGBTQ+ fans wanting to travel to the World Cup have concerns over their safety. Just this month the Qatar World Cup ambassador, Khalid Salman, stated that homosexuality is "damage in the mind".  In Qatar, same-sex sexual activity is punishable by a seven-year prison sentence. 


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FIFA claims to be "taking concrete measures to promote diversity and anti-discrimination in football." Hollower words have rarely been spoken. Last week, Sepp Blatter said that awarding Qatar the World Cup was a mistake. But it is far too late to be absolving himself of responsibility. FIFA isn’t fit for purpose. They have managed to turn a footballing celebration into a modern day tragedy. They have blood on their hands.